In this session, we had the pleasure of being joined by Denise Love of 2 Lil Owls, a studio that provides creatives with all the tools necessary to push their art and photography to new heights. While Denise is a "multi-creative person with many artistic passions", she stuck specifically to teaching us about overlays and lighting. We hope you're ready for a session jam packed with incredibly useful tips!

Choose an Image

Choose a RAW photo. Edit the lighting in Photoshop and Lightroom. Adjust the exposure. Play with Euphoria Presets to get a vintage look of the image.

Use presets to add a direction to the image. Make adjustments after using presets. Use the curve to give the image a soft look.

Sharpen the Image

Sharpen the image in Lightroom and Photoshop, by holding the Option key down. Sharpen each pixel and subject. Add a mask and make adjustments in Photoshop, like spot healing. Spot heals off any blemishes and black spots.

Add a second layer of sharpening to add extra detailing. Avoid sharpening after adding layers to the image.

Duplicate the layer to add sharpening and select the high pass filter, for the image. Set it at a radius of 12 and put a soft light or overlay to tighten up all the edges. This will make the subject crispy and clear. 

Add Textures

Use the Ultimate Photography and Texture Bundle for color, light sets and overlays. Use Boca Overlays to add fun rainbows, directional lighting and effects like that. Play with the colors in the Light Set. Use the Blend Mode for adjustments.

Pro tip: Add full effect where hard lights are intended and turn the blend mode down. 

Add Lighting Effects

Add Directional Lighting. Use the Heartlight Effect.

Go to Image Adjustments, Hue, Saturation, and saturate the yellow color. Manipulate the layer or texture, in your photo. Set the Screen Mode low.

Click on number 10 to add a light effect and a rainbow effect, combined with number 8 and number 11. Add a hard light and reduce the color tone. Saturate it and adjust the opacity of that layer.

Add festival lighting to the image.

Add this on soft light with an overlay and a hard light. It really depends on how vivid and overwhelming you want those to be. Add color and out a soft light again. Click on the image adjustments levels, and tweak the brightness. Put a mask and strategically get the bubbles off.

Pro tip: Work on a natural effect rather than something that looks odd.

Adjust the opacity and add a colored vignette. Add a gradient using a linear radio angle. Add a blue tone and highlights.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully created realistic lighting using overlays for your first image.

Let’s work on another example to add lighting:

Pick another raw image or photograph. For example, the yellow flower as shown in the image below. Add a whimsical look to the flower by clicking on number 11 and tweaking the settings. Add contrast and highlights.

Pump up the vibrance by adding warm tones. Sharpen the image and add a mask to the subject.

Use the Spot Healer to get rid of the dirty spots on the leaves and use a high pass filter to sharpen the image. Put a soft light and pull the opacity down. Add rainbows around the edge and a festive lighting image as background.

Congratulations, your beautiful photograph is ready.

Let’s work on another example to add lighting:

Pick a tiny bush of pink flowers. Adjust the exposure and add a gradient to give it a whimsical warm look. Add lighting effects and texture.

Use a high pass filter and adjust the lighting. Use an overlay and add a hard light.

Add a solid color layer and put a soft light, giving it a blue tinge. Use a gradient and add an overlay. Add a soft light again and a hazy white. Play with the different screen modes and your third image is ready.

Let’s work on another example to add lighting:

Choose a stock photo as shown in the reference image below. Apply number 8 and make adjustments. Tweak the levels to make it brighter, pulling the haze out with the darkening slider. Add a slight rainbow effect and a sun flare.

Pro tip: Be careful when you have directional lighting. Let it not sit on top of a subject. Put it behind the subject.

Add a gradient to put extra light close to the tree. Put a soft, buttery, yellow for the sunlight. 

Pro tip: Don’t have conflicting light information. Let the photo look as natural as possible.

Congratulations, another beautiful photograph is ready.